This Holiday Season, Add Gratitude to Your List

:02 read I know. You’re busy! “The Holidays” are upon us. Please humor me as I ponder mankind a bit. I promise I’ll be brief.

Humans are so predictable. It’s mid-November. Wait! Did the weatherman say we might see our first snow? The leaden sky is half-heartedly spitting out a few scrawny flakes but we hear BLIZZARD! Fear of starvation sets in. We might not get out until spring! Haunting thoughts of the Donner party lurk in our hearts. As a result, there’s a frantic mass scramble to the grocery store. You say you’re looking for bread, milk and chili ingredients? Sorry, those shelves are already stripped bare.

Where’s the creativity? Where are the original ideas?

Seriously? Why doesn’t anyone ever decide to make corn chowder, minestrone or chicken noodle soup? All are equally comforting. Why is it always chili? Herdthink, I’d say. Sigh. Doesn’t anyone have a unique craving?  Today is the fourth Thursday in November. That’s right, it’s Thanksgiving. Say it with me. “It’s time to be thankful for our blessings.” Gratitude is the word du jour, so predictable. But where was that word in May or September or January?

Thankfulness is a worthy value 365 days a year.

Nothing that can change our worldview more than remembering to be thankful for what we have. Nothing. In the grand scheme of life, we’re all outrageously blessed here in America. Yet we take our comforts and abundance completely for granted and always expect more. I’m not suggesting we should embrace austerity and go looking for hardships. However, I do believe we should be mindful of our blessings, not just on Thanksgiving but in each of the other 364 days.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Does this quote leave you wondering why? Gratitude has been the subject of exhaustive and painstaking research for years. Each study validates the previous experiment and the results are remarkably similar.

The Incredible Benefits of Gratitude

It turns out Cicero was right. According to The Greater Good organization at UC Berkeley, approaching life with gratitude has significant and positive effects on our physical, emotional and social well-being! Studies show simply writing down five things a week for which we are grateful can lower blood pressure, foster better sleep, create higher levels of positive emotions and make us feel less lonely and isolated. Only 5 things, isn’t that crazy?

As we careen into the “hap-hap-happiest season of all”, take a good look at gratitude and pause a few moments each day to count your blessings. I know, it may sound corny. Try it today though, before you start getting bogged down in the rush and let me know what happens. You’ll thank me!

 

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